Just like in other countries, so does in Latvia has problems with unemployment level. The Baltic States have been amongst the worst hit by the global financial crisis. In December 2008 the Latvian unemployment rate stood at 7%. By December 2009, the figure had risen to 22.8%. The number of unemployed has more than tripled since the onset of the crisis, giving Latvia the highest rate of unemployment growth in the EU. Later, in 2010, unemployment rate was 17 % , which continued decreased and in 2011 reached 15% .
Now situation has become better, according to operative data from State Employment agency the level of unemployment in Latvia has grown by 0.1% reaching a whole of 11.8% in February, 2012. The lowest unemployment level remains to be in Riga region – 8.4%, but the highest unemployment level is in Latgale – 20.3%. In January, the unemployment level in Kurzeme was – 12.5%, in Zemgale – 13.2% and in Vidzeme – 13.4%.
The unemployment level in Riga has stabilized the past several months and reached 7.8% at the end of February 2012, but at the end of January, the unemployment level in Riga was 7.9%. 29,614 unemployed persons are registered at the State Employment Agency’s (SEA) branch in Riga at the end of February. On the other hand, there is a total of 133,418 persons registered as unemployed in the whole country at the end of February, which is a registered unemployment level of 11.8%.
On February, in Riga region were registred 1358 free workplaces in the registry of the State Employment Agency (SEA). From beginning of the year number of available jobs have decreased. In view of the number of unemployed people registered in SEA for a job, in late February were qualified 22 unemployed persons. But in the whole country in this period were 2482 total amount of available free workplaces.
Also, continued to increase Social service of Riga long term working-age unemployed clients, in February reached 3934 or 30% of all labor force working-age unemployed clients.
As one of the unemployed person support from Social service of Riga is Support group for unemployed persons. In 2011 worked 38 such groups, which involved 706 unemployed.
From Support groups unemployed persons can receive social worker advice, support how to cope with with unemployment, improve social communication skills, develop personal resources, to strengthen the personal social support system, as well as the emotional support not only from the team leader, but also from members of the group.